A Perspective on family Courts From a Judge

Regular readers know that I have had my own personal struggles with the Family Courts.  Because of the impact that had in my life, most for the better I might add, I still look for answers.  It is a system that no one is prepared for until they are stuck, as if in quicksand.  The more you struggle to get out, the deeper you get stuck.


I am now working as a Mediator, Parenting Time Expediter, Parenting Consultant and Divorce/Life Coach because I want to spend time working for solutions and using the experience I had as a way to help others.  If it were up to me, no one would ever agree to have a Parenting Consultant or continue to do battle in the court system at all.  There would be no need to even have someone like me around.  Unfortunately, change comes very slow in any system like this.  I have seen, now that I am a small part of this system, some positive changes since I first entered as a respondent in my own divorce case.  You might be surprised to hear that things used to be even worse than they are now.  Now, people have some options and the right to fire a Parenting Consultant, but it is still with the same stigma, how will you be viewed by the court when you do that?  Certainly some solutions are not really solutions in a situation where you are judged by what you say and do.


Still, I think that many professionals in the system do think that changes need to come.  They do not agree on how to do it.  Some may think that everything is very helpful to people if they have never had to be on any side other than the professional side of the court.  The professional side is one thing, you get paid pretty well, and you can go home at the end of the day and enjoy your life.  You don’t have to take all that pain and anger you hear about all day with you when you close up shop.  The personal side, however, is wrought with pain, fear, anger, confusion and a learned distrust that will probably never go away.  You listen to these “solutions” and believe people when they tell you things like, “you want to have a parenting consultant.  They will help so much.  You won’t have to go to court anymore.  They can make quick decisions and reduce the amount of fighting.”  Well, there are a couple small details in that quote that are true, but most of it is false.  Do lawyers know they are lying to you about it?  Maybe some don’t know.  Maybe they do think it’s helpful because they have never had to be on the wrong side of it.  Maybe they think very highly of their colleagues who are parenting consultants and take for granted that because someone is a super lawyer, that makes for a super parenting consultant.  It doesn’t.


I don’t know what the answers are, although I believe that less is more and that includes the court system.  I think that if you had to go get your divorce completed and there was nothing after that, people would figure it out for themselves and most would do fine.  Some would never talk to each other again, even if they had kids and that would be fine for them.  I believe that would be hard for children, but I do not know anyone whose childhood was entirely happy and carefree and had no bad things happen, but I know that those people have grown into exceptional adults after learning how to cope with bad things.  Life happens.  It’s not all good and it’s not all bad.  It is just is what it is.  You can learn to deal with it and grow, or you can let everyone else deal with it for you and never learn how to grow as a person.  I don’t think that works for anyone through their whole life, but some people choose that.  I think it is important to choose your path for yourself.


Well, I could go on all day about what I think, but like I said, I don’t have all the answers and I do what I can to try to make things better for some people in whatever small way I can.  One way I do that is to share information.  To be informed is to be powerful!  Here is an article that I just found.  I agree with a lot of what it says.  Not everything, but it is a start to a new way of thinking about divorce.  I may have more to say about it later in another post, but for now, read this article form Bruce Peterson, a presiding judge of the Hennepin County family Court from 2006-2008, “A Spiritual Perspective on Family Courts.”  It is long, but worth the read.

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